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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Movie Digest # 008

Robinsons Galleria, Cinema 8, March 14, 10:00pm

I was struggling before I decided to watch this film. You see, the film is exclusively shown at Robinsons Galleria and I only have the LFS as an option. The film, by the way, is R18 and I was afraid to watch it alone. Come on, it’s not Glorietta or Greenbelt (my second and third homes). But I was challenged by my self being a film buff. I have a hint that the film is somewhat close to “Scorpio Nights” which is about self destruction (thus the title). So I went having the “self destruction” thing in mind. Hahaha. OK, the film is good. It’s heavy. Nakakadugo ng ilong pag-isipan lalong lalo na ang huling sampung minuto nito. The film tackles the lives of a family, another couple (the maid and the house boy) and a bisexual tenant inside a compound (I’m not sure if that is a Pinoy word but the title refers to a place similar to a townhouse having two or three houses inside, fenced by only one gate). Then insanity hits one of the characters. Everything becomes complicated and ends with a psychologically demanding denoument. Whoa! A must-see, actually, for those who are tired of Pinoy rom-coms.

Friends who might appreciate it: film lovers and film haters alike.

Glorietta 1, Cinema 3, March 16, 8:30pm

This one’s wow! Spooky. Hehehe. After a long time, it’s a relief to finally watch a scary film that doesn’t have a woman with a long hair in white as Madam Misery. The film has a lean farmer looking guy in camiso chino instead. What I love most about the film is that it isn’t loud, it’s not high-pitched and irritating. I prefer this one over “Sukob” in terms of delivery and subtlety. Ang galing pa ng cast. I think they’re indie world’s crème of the crop: Yul Servo, Angel Aquino, Coco Martin and Sid Lucero plus the ever reliable Ian Veneracion, Assunta de Rossi and Rodel Velayo. But the title could be misleading in case you’re expecting a lot to see Siquijor with its fine beachlines and sunset on its glory. The plot is simple. After a group of TV crew shot a “Nginiiiiggg!” type feature in Siquijor, they went back to Manila only to suffer the consequences of the “engkanto”. I’ll stop there. Just go and catch this one.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who cleverly (naks) appreciate Pinoy thrillers.

Gateway Cineplex, Cinema 4, March 17, 2:10pm

I was sorry that I did not watch this film when it was first shown in Utrecht. This one’s a gem. Simply because I haven’t seen a nice black comedy in years. The last time, I think, was with “Full Monty”. Sobrang benta sa akin ‘to: mga karakter na buhol-buhol, kwentong pamilya, isang naghihingalong yellow van, ang choreography n’ung isa-isa silang sumasakay sa van matapos itong itulak (si nanay muna, si bunso, si tiyo at si kuya), sangkaterbang sarcasm, underacting, patay na lolo sa backseat, bagong pananaw sa mga beauty pageant na pambata at ang paglaya ng lahat sa kung anumang kanilang pinapasan. Weird but when everbody was laughing inside the theater for the finale scene, I was close to crying a river. A must-see (naks!). Hahaha.

Friends who might appreciate it: no limit, all of them!

Gateway Cineplex, Cinema 6, March 17, 5:20pm

If you’ve seen “The Birdcage” (based on the play “La Cage Aux Folles”) with Robin Williams and Gene Hackman during the mid-90’s, then you’re already familiar with “Happy Hearts”. There’s nothing new and kick-ass with this film. Pinoy na Pinoy ang formula (drama-dramahan, konting komedya, merong loveteam na mga teenager, etc.). What I have realized though is that Rustom can act better than Binoe. Kailangan lang talaga ng tamang project. I can hear some giggles everytime Wendell Ramos appears on screen, doing a “parlorista” kind of role. Alam kasi ng lahat na everything’s just a game. Oh, well. Walang kailangang i-convince at ma-convince. Verdict: it’s not good pero hindi naman s’ya basura.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who frequent comedy bars in Timog.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Manny, The Enlightened

Last Saturday, after watching a film and a palabok break, I grabbed my S60 and my tripod and took a cab to World Light Expo along Roxas Boulevard (right in front of the ghostly Uniwide Coastal Mall) in Parañaque. The entrance fee costs P200 and I was advised, will be P100 more expensive starting Monday (March 12) onwards.

The place is comparable to a theme park except that it doesn’t have any wild rides and annoying mascots. As the park DJ has announced (at least every 15 minutes), there are two million light bulbs in the area, lighting different items like a giant pagoda, a kilometric dragon made of China (saucers, plates and sandoks), some balloons shaped like characters from a cartoon series, gallery of lanterns (my favorite piece), arcs, an altar (with Jesus on it, Diyos ko!), a temple and even Eiffel Tower and the London Tower Bridge miniatures.

If you’re tired of walking and taking pictures, feel free to take a spot near the stage and watch for a free show from China Circus (great but nothing new if you’ve seen a circus before) and Dance Inc. (oh boy, Pinoys are really talented even in non-Pinoy arenas like belly dancing). Then there’s the Korea B-Boy Dancers (B for Breakdance, I guess).

Aside from this unique treat (come on, have you seen a back-to-back entertainment from belly dancing Pinoys and breakdancing Koreans before?), there’s a laser show called something like “Ocean Laser Show”. Pwede na. I enjoyed the surprise fireworks after the presentation. Just don’t get near the fountain area or you better be ready to get wet.

Hmmm, what else? Ah, there’s a room for a set of terracotta warriors (so fake but it’s not that bad) and another room for a collection of Hanji-made dolls created by a certain Ms. Lee Hyung-Sook (really, really cute).

At 9pm, I had a pork barbecue and a hotdog from Didiboy’s (with C2, the meal costs P92). I was tempted to try on the traditional Chinese costumes (P100 rental fee for photo-op) but I preferred to have my “last look” round that took me an hour or two more. Tired of strolling and setting-folding my tripod, I shared a bench with a mom and her daughter. They were talking about how amazed they were with the items inside the expo. I bothered not do any small talk this time. I can’t afford to. My left hand had my S60 ready to trigger a shot while my other hand was busy holding a grape-flavored Korean ice cream.

Movie Digest # 007

Gateway Cineplex, Cinema 1, March 8, 9:50pm

Is it a tearjerker? Yes. Specially on a scene where Will Smith is just teary eyed and no words are uttered. Just his face on the frame. It is indeed the most powerful part of the film (and perhaps the culprit of an Oscar nomination for Best Actor). Did he use method acting here? Thanks to his son who appears natural most of the time. They’ve got good rapport. Little Will Smith has what it takes and indeed very, very promising. The film showcases the struggles of the main character and could be uneasy to bear. Mabigat sa dibdib. If you’re familiar with Steven Soderbergh’s works, then this film would not be that special in terms of filmmaking style. Regardless of that, I appreciate that the film is based on a true inspiring story.

Friends who might appreciate it: dads, Will Smith fans and those who prefer watching a non-glossy and semi-realistic hollywood film.

Robinsons Galleria, Cinema 8, March 10, 1:30pm

The film is very ambitious in concocting a taboo topic (like lesbianism) with a glossy (read: mainstream) filmmaking. In a nutshell, it isn’t bad. But I can’t say that it’s good. Maybe the problem is with the storyline. It has so much to tell. It’s not only an unconventioanal tale of two gorgeous women falling in love. It also hits on politics, poverty, poetry reading, girl thing, religion, stereotypical men, etc. Andami-daming inilagay na sa tingin ko ay hindi naman kailangan. Not to mention that some dialogues are off and flat. Ano ba talagang motibo ng gumawa nito? Maybe we should learn something from “Brokeback Mountain” by keeping it simple and quiet. But it’s a nice try though. And yes, there’s a steamy kissing scene between the two leads: Mylene Dizon and Andrea del Rosario (aside from the harutan in the shower room, complete with soap and everything).

Friends who might appreciate it: Austin Powers-wannabes.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Movie Digest # 006

Glorietta 4, Cinema 3, March 5, 10:30pm

My first impression when I got out of the cinema: it’s like I’ve watched a stage musical. Let me explain. Siguro dahil na-highlight ‘yung mga elements na gustung gusto mo sa entablado: the choreo, the singing and the production numbers. I can’t say the same for “Chicago”. Mas film na film kasi ang scope n’un. Dito, acting is suwabe, Beyonce is beautiful in every scene and the songs alone are radio friendly. And for sure, subject na naman ng mga impersonation ang ilang eksena rito.

Friends who might appreciate it: friends in high heels.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 3, March 7, 8:00pm

It’s 300% entertaining! It’s like watching a hollywood CGI film for the first time. Ang galing ng visuals, maganda ang vision ng filmmaker at witty (bordering to campy) ng mga lines for a period war film. Lahat yata ng frame eh highlight. Wala man lang nuances! If the film’s main goals are to entertain and to somewhat show something new for the moviegoers, then they succeeded. I am expecting at least an Oscar nomination for Art Direction, Costume Design and even Sound Mixing/Editing. Bentang benta sa akin ‘tong movie. Don’t forget to bring some popcorn and prepare to be awed. Ha-wooooh!

Friends who might appreciate it: comics fans and movie fans.

Glorietta 4, Cinema 5, March 7, 10:30pm

Gripping and engaging. Thanks to the two lead actresses: Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett. Ang husay ng palitan ng lines, ang galing ng rapport at hindi sila nagkainan. No pun intended. Hahaha. May konting anino ng lesbianismo ‘yung pelikula. Judi Dench’s old maid character is sad and craves for friendship. But she corrected it, “I want more than friendship”. Cate’s lonely wife character, on the other hand, hangs on to Judi’s character when the former was involved in a scandalous (hence the title) affair with a 15-year old student named Steven (I recognize his Northern Irish accent, thanks to a client called NIE). What really came up is a film about a thin line between friendship and more than friendship and up to what extent can you (or can’t you) sacrifice in its name. Nagalingan din ako sa pagkakasulat. Andaming device na ginamit to symbolize what is unlawful (when Steven is making pa-cute to Cate’s character, three policemen came from behind), picking up the pieces (Judy’s character is literally picking up the pieces of a broken mirror when she is having a discussion with Cate’s character after a confrontation), skeletons in the closet (Cate’s character is throwing out some garbage bags when she meets up again with Steven for the alleged break-up) and even the absence of sincerity (Steven gave Cate’s character a fancy necklace). This one’s for the books.

Friends who might appreciate it: those who value friendships a lot and those who are sad and alone.

Monday, March 05, 2007

My Kinda Sabado

10:00 – Umpisa na ng araw ko. Thanks to my celfone and my old school alarm clock.

10:05 – Helped my landlady, Ate Nadine, fold the tent that I borrowed from Jong. The one that I used last JEST.

10:30 – Brunch at Chowking (JP Rizal) with fish with tausi. I didn’t finish the rice.

11:00 – Ligo.

11:45 – Jeepney ride to Guadalupe Ilalim. I left my celfone at home.

12:10 – MRT to Quezon Avenue. It was windy when I got out of the train station.

12:30 – Jeepney ride to “campus”. Sa tapat na ako ng Palma Hall bumaba. It was damn hot. Andaming estudyante na may kanya-kanyang pananalig at giyera sa buhay.

12:45 – Saw stage actor Neil Ryan Sese, still wearing his period costume and fully made up, passed by me. If you were not aware that there’s a period musical staged in the building, you’ll mistake him for a ghost.

12:50 – Met Jo-anne Quiros of Dulaang UP for the ticket. She asked me to just come back at 2:30 for the ticket. I was too early for a 3pm play.

13:05 – Took a shot of a walkway from Palma Hall to an adjacent building. I brought my S60 with me (contrary to what I usually do: leave the valuables at home when heading north).

13:20 – Can’t find Casaa. I took the wrong turn, that’s why. I should have exited on the right side of Palma Hall from the stairs connected to the upper floors.

13:30 – Found Casaa. Found my self eating chicken roll from Gloria’s. A friend from Quezon badly craves for this dish. She said that it’s still good after all these years.

13:40 – Tambay sa hagdan sa Palma Hall. Panood-nood lang sa mga estudyanteng nag-aaral, nagdadaldalan, nagdi-discuss ng project at nangangampanya.

14:20 – Went back to the hall’s second floor, in front of Wilfrido Ma. Guererro Theater where Jo-anne found me. She handed me the ticket and the program (without Bb. Jose’s signature which I asked upon ticket reservation through text).

14:30 – Got in the priority queue (along with some people who look like books). I was craving for the banana latte from the stall nearby but managed to kill the temptation. Good job, Manny Boy!

15:00 – The sarswela “Basilia ng Malolos” began. It stars the beautiful Jenny Jamora (she’s very luminous) as Basilia along with a bunch of women in Filipinianas. I love the music. I love the content. My first good stage production for the year. To my friends’ disappointment, the play, which ran for 2 hours and 30 minutes, has no nudity.

17:45 – The wedding ring of the lead character rolled and went near into my seat. I was on the front row, middle seat. I just put it back in the stage’s edge (just as high as my knees).

18:10 – On my way out back to MRT station. It was raining. Took the lift (sardinas kasama ang anim o pitong tao sa loob).

18:50 – Made a short trip to the train station’s toilet. It is surprisingly clean and well maintained.

19:10 – Walking 101: MRT Ayala Station then SM Makati then Glorietta then Landmark then Greenbelt 3 then Greenbelt 1.

19:30 – Jolly spaghetti was too tempting to resist. I hoped that Janet (and probably other peeps) won’t mind this fast food pit stop. Eat-and-run.

19:50 – Met Janet near the escalator at the mall’s second level. I was glad to see her there at that time. We planned to meet between 7:30 to 7:45pm and we can just leave or get in if nobody shows during that period.

20:00 – Repertory Philippines’ “Song and Dance”. It’s a piece by THE Andrew Lloyd Webber. The first part was all singing (with Carla Guevarra-Lafortesa) and the other, all dancing. Beautiful act, beautiful music. What more can I ask for? I also saw Anton, an ex-Manila officemate plus KC Concepcion and Lino Cayetano.

22:10 – Greenbelt 3, looking for a movie schedule. LFS was at midnight so I had to walk back to Glorietta 4 for an ealier sched.

23:00 – “Letters from Iwo Jima”. LFS. To keep me awake, I got a tall Tazo passion tea from Starbucks and a mini-bag of roasted salted cashew nuts from House of Nuts. I wasn’t sure if I was too sleepy while queueing or I really saw Etta Rosales and her kids in front of me.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Movie Digest # 005

Glorietta 4, Cinema 3, March 3, 11pm

Worthy of an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Nagustuhan ko ‘to. Clint Eastwood is really good. By the way, here are the reasons: 1. ang tahimik n’ung film, comparable sa ilang Japanese films. Para kang nagze-zen up while watching it (so avoid LFS, hehehe); 2. the film doesn’t vindicate anything. The film ends with the infamous mountain as “piping saksi” of everything, walang evil, walang good; 3. the device used is similar to “Titanic” and “Schiendler’s List” but “Letters…” pulls it off more gracefully (naks!); and 4. may “theme” ‘yung film. Umpisa pa lang, you know already how dark it will end. For a film director, it’s a challenging task.

Friends who might appreciate it: war film lovers and regular movie goers.

Power Plant, Cinema 5, March 4, 3:35pm

OK, I was teary-eyed with this one. I’m still a child at heart. Hahaha. Asa pa. I can say that this is a small film. The promo that it’s from the producers of “Narnia” and the CGI team is the same as those from “LOTR” and “Kingkong” is a bit misleading. Hindi s’ya FX film na sobrang engrande. It’s not even a fantasy film. Sa kabila nito, maayos na natalakay ang acceptance, paglawak ng horizon, paglaya at moving on. Kahit kokonti, convincing ang CGI pero hindi nagpasapaw ang cast. Mahuhusay rin sila (mas magaling pa sa mga bata sa “Narnia”).

Friends who might appreciate it: parents, their kids, parent-at-heart and child-at-heart.
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